Think You Don't Need A Sales Mentor? Here Are 3 Reasons Why Every Seller Does

BY Jessica Helinski
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Have you had a sales mentor? If not, you’re not alone. Only about 30% of professionals say they’ve ever had a mentor; yet 97% of those who have been mentored say it was valuable. Whether you are a novice seller or an industry veteran, there are quite a few reasons why you should take advantage of being mentored. 

A sales mentor is not the same as a sales manager

Many sellers may think they don’t need a mentor because they already have a sales manager. But these two aren’t the same, according to Steve Bookbinder, writing for IMPACT. “Your manager is where you go for job-​related coaching,” he explains. This includes guidance and advice on job functions, processes and other company-​specific elements. “Your mentor, on the other hand,” Bookbinder adds, “tends to look at the bigger picture and is more focused on personal and career development for you as a salesperson and professional.”

Another issue is the perceived quality of interactions with managers. SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study found that sellers say the top weaknesses of their current managers include:

  • Motivating team members
  • Not responding in a timely manner
  • Coaching/​developing team members

Additionally, SalesFuel’s study revealed approximately 20% believe their entire sales team would be more successful if they received more one-​on-​one coaching. So while managers are a part of sellers’ experiences, they aren’t always meeting expectations. This is where a mentor comes in.

3 ways a sales mentor brings value to reps

Bookbinder shares several reasons why sellers should actively seek a mentor. One reason is that a mentor will challenge your current behaviors, beliefs and way of doing things. While this doesn’t sound particularly fun, a refresh may be what you need to get to the next level of success. 

Oftentimes in sales, we get so involved in our own routines and ways of selling that once we find something that works we don’t (or won’t) change it,” he writes. “We stop trying new things, don’t ask for feedback, stop practicing and role-​playing, and take any shortcut we can find.” Complacency is tough to get out of on your own, which is where a mentor can help. It may be uncomfortable to hear, but this unbiased feedback may be needed. They can assist with establishing boundaries for yourself, changing a fixed mindset, updating your process, and implementing new practices. They also can help you hold yourself accountable, as well as adjust priorities.

A fresh look at your career path

Another advantage to having a sales mentor is that they assist with navigating your career path. As Bookbinder explains, “A mentor can provide an unbiased yet experienced opinion that can help guide you in the right direction, especially as they get to know you and can make certain observations about your strengths and weaknesses that you may not be able to see on your own.”

They may observe how you work and pick up on opportunities for growth or traits you may not even realize you possess. This can open new doors for different paths or additional pursuits. Even if you don’t want to make a career move at the moment, their insights can inspire you to pursue a different type of customer or implement different strategies into your current role. 

Get more connected

Sales mentors can also improve your own connections. So often in sales, who you know can lead to new business. Mentors have the experience and networks to expand your relationships and connect you with a wider circle. “Since sales is arguably all about building, nurturing, and maintaining relationships, a little help in meeting the right people can go a long way in leading you to opportunities that you may not have had otherwise,” he writes. “Think warmer leads, more prospects, and better client relationships.”

So, even if you’ve been in the industry for years, a sales mentor can provide so much value. Everyone can benefit from what they offer, and they can help bridge the gap between what sellers really want and need and what they are actually getting. 

Photo by nappy